Doncaster Rovers fans bid to hand matchday boost to Free Press Foodbank campaign

Martin O'Hara, Deputy Chair of football supporters federation (FSF), pictured with students from Club Doncaster sports and education foundation, Vaz Lindley, Alex Colliver, Oliver Bristow, Ricardo Kowo, Jack Beardshaw and Charlie Hellewell, who are also supporting the campaign. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Rovers Foodbank MC 2
Martin O'Hara, Deputy Chair of football supporters federation (FSF), pictured with students from Club Doncaster sports and education foundation, Vaz Lindley, Alex Colliver, Oliver Bristow, Ricardo Kowo, Jack Beardshaw and Charlie Hellewell, who are also supporting the campaign. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Rovers Foodbank MC 2

Doncaster Rovers fans hope to hand a major boost to our foodbank campaign.

Supporters of the town's professional football club are looking to set up a matchday collection point to try bring in food to help those who are in financial trouble.

They have the support of the club and hope to have collections running by Christmas.

We launched the Free Press Doncaster Foodbank campaign last month to call on residents and businesses to help the borough’s foodbanks by making donations of food, or to offer premises as collection points.

The campaign was launched after concerns from foodbank chiefs and Citizens Advice Doncaster Borough, which issues food bank vouchers, over a major surge in demand while the new Universal Credit benefit is being rolled out across Doncaster.

Rovers season ticket holder and deputy chairman of the national Football Supporters Federation, Martin O'Hara, is spearheading plans for a foodbank at Rovers home matches, after schemes were set up at Liverpool, Everton and Newcastle United.

The federation would like to have schemes running at all the league grounds.

Mr O'Hara has already spoken to the club about the plans, and Rovers have been supportive of the proposal.

He has a number of volunteers already in place to take part in collections, which he expects would be at the same part of the ground for each game, possibly near the ticket office.

If enough volunteers can be raised, Mr O'Hara wants to rotate the people manning the collections points, so volunteers would cover perhaps one in three home games.

He said: "We would set up a stall and hopefully, people would come to the match bringing an item of food. It has been successful in Liverpool and Newcastle, and we hope it can be a success in Doncaster too. We would like to be able to drive it as supporters.

"We would love to have a big pool of volunteers.

Anyone interested in volunteering to help the matchday collection can call Mr O'Hara on 07825 632516.

Mr O'Hara added he fully backed the Free Press Foodbank campaign and hoped any collections at Rovers games would help.

Donations to Doncaster Foodbank can be dropped off at Tesco Extra at Woodfield Plantation, Woodfield Way, Balby, where there is a permanent collection point at the front of store. Mexborough has collection points at Mexborough LIbrary and the Children’s Hub. bDonated food can be delivered to Christ Church any Tuesday or Thursday between 9am and midday.

Food items which are most urgently needed include tinned fruit, long life fruit juice, tinned rice pudding, tinned meat, pasta sauce and rice. Doncaster Foodbank also takes toiletries, cleaning and sanitary products.